For 150 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Diocese of Cleveland, has been helping and healing community members in need. Since its modest beginnings in 1865, SVDP Cleveland’s volunteer network has expanded to 1,000 individuals of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds from 63 Diocesan parishes in its eight-county service area, who provide face-to-face, temporary emergency aid to disenfranchised residents. This vast array of help takes numerous forms — from assisting the mentally- and physically-challenged with job training – to offering emergency financial assistance with utilities and rent, as well as food, clothing, beds and school supplies to families. Each month, the Society’s eight food pantries alone feed more than 10,000 hungry men, women and children. And as part of the larger Northeast Ohio social services community, it also partners with area nonprofits in efforts that include supplying free blankets to homeless shelters and collaborating with the Red Cross to help local disaster victims.
To commemorate its Sesquicentennial and raise additional funds for its charitable programs, SVDP Cleveland will host several special events throughout 2015.
“The Society is proud to have reached this milestone as an integral part of the region’s social services fabric for these past 150 years,” said John Litten, executive director. “We look forward to assisting even more people in need, in addition to forging new partnerships with civic-minded individuals, organizations and businesses in Northeast Ohio to make an even greater impact.”
Last year alone, SVDP Cleveland served more than 200,000 people residing in Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties. This emergency help translated into some $4 million in direct assistance and in-kind services.
The local organization is affiliated with the international Society of St. Vincent de Paul, one of the oldest charitable organizations in the world. Originally known as the “Conference of Charity,” the international society was founded in 1833 by French scholar Frederic Ozanam and his fellow students, who helped thousands of poor residing in the slums of Paris during the cholera epidemic.
SVDP Cleveland’s central office is located at 1404 East Ninth Street, Cleveland. For more information, call 216.696.6525, ext. 3150 or http://www.svdpcle.org/.